Culture Access is a community interest company with three directors. We are based in London and previously West Midlands. Some of us had experience from the community group Connect Culture.
We have a steering group.
Annabel Crowley grew up as a young carer, and started working in the field of disability at the age of 17. She has supported disabled students in FE and HE, and is currently employed by the Disability Service at University of the Arts London. Annabel has also worked in the charity sector, including several years coordinating a user-led, community-based social activities programme at Hammersmith and Fulham Mencap. With experience in designing and delivering training, advocacy work, project management and youth participation, Annabel hopes to bring both skills and enthusiasm as a director of Culture Access.
Eleanor Lisney FRSA MA MSIS is a founder member of Culture Access. She is an access and equality advisor. She is also on the British Council Disability Advisory Panel and the web team of the International Network of Women with Disabilities. She writes on intersectional issues as a disabled woman of colour and is passionate on campaigning for social justice and inclusion. She loves good food, cooking with her PAs, eating out with friends, working with plants and playing with cameras especially using the smartphone to record stuff. She lives in the Greenwich area and have deep affection for the West Midlands where she used to live in Coventry.
Frieda van de Poll is an artist based in Coventry and Oxford. Founding member and director of Art in Coventry and Holyhead Studios, she has many years experience in outreach work, leading socially engaged public arts projects in Coventry and the region. She was a co founder of Sisters of Frida and worked with Connect Culture, a a disabled user led community group based in Coventry and Warwickshire.
Steering group members
Iyiola Olafimihan LLB/BL MA was a capacity building specialist at Disability LIB (a UK £4m Big lottery funded project set up to support disabled people’s organisations in England to maximise their operations) and also a consultant. Iyiola was a founding member of ASCEND an activist group that was part of the coalition that proposed disability discrimination legislation in Nigeria. Iyiola has extensive experience in the legal and commercial sector of Nigeria. While in the UK has led training and advice around governance, fundraising etc to disabled people’s organisations. Iyiola is a committee member of Disability Action in Islington and continues to volunteer with Healthwatch Islington and at Islington Council. Iyiola enjoys music, going to shows and night-clubbing, he is married with 2 lovely teenagers.
Ciara Doyle is a Senior Lecturer for Youth and Community Work in the Department of Education & Community Studies at the University of Greenwich. Since graduating in 2001 with a first class Master’s degree in youth and community work, she began her career as a community development manager in a family resource centre in Waterford, Ireland. Her work focused on young mothers, traveller mothers, refugee and asylum seeker women. In addition, she was involved in a range of regional and national advocacy, representation and policy work. At the University of Greenwich Ciara is course coordinator for Representation of Childhood and Youth on the BA Hons (Extended) Childhood & Youth Studies programme. Ciara has been a trade union activist all her life, and currently sits on the University College Unions disabled workers committee representing disabled workers in Higher education. She was a founding member of Queer Resistance and active on LGBT issues.
Anahita Harding has a BA in Fine Art; Philosophy, and graduated from SOAS having studied MA History of Art and Architecture of the Islamic Middle East. A real interest of hers is access in museums and art galleries, and the way curatorial decisions can either welcome or deter a visitor depending on their class, gender, race and disability. Currently she is assisting the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive (NDACA) in curating an exhibition at Buckinghamshire New University which will be centred on the disability arts movement. She is also involved in community arts projects at the Horniman Museum- most recently with Three Cs- and volunteer every week as part of the Engage team.
Christiane Link is a journalist and award-winning businesswoman. She covers current affairs for German media outlets and is a frequent flyer who has visited all continents. She has a master’s degree equivalent in Political Science from the University of Hamburg and has been an active member of the German and British disability movement for over 20 years. Christiane is passionate about access for all and believes everyone should be able to visit the places they want to go to. In accordance with this belief, she has developed disability equality training as well as accessibility consulting, and her company delivers this throughout Europe to enterprises of all sizes, from small businesses to Stock Exchange-listed companies, including leading airlines, airports and transport providers.
Jenny Hurst is an Independent Living coordinator for a DPO and an independent Disability Equality Trainer. She was involved in the Independent Living Fund, first as an advisory group member and then as an active campaigner in the ultimately unsuccessful fight to save it. Jenny was involved in discussions with Ministers around the Care Act to try to ensure it enshrined Article 19 of the UNCRPD – the right to independent living. Among her goals is to ensure that more “changing places” toilets are available – as she says “having a truly accessibly loo is everything… just because it says ‘disabled toilet’ on the door, it doesn’t mean it is not disabling for some”. Jenny’s qualifications include a first class honours degree in French and Spanish. She lives in Greenwich and enjoys its green spaces and nature and visiting many of the borough’s ample restaurants with friends.
Dr. Joanna Abeyie MBE is the go-getting 33-year-old who has blazed a trail as a multi-award-winning social impact entrepreneur, champion of diversity, inclusion, and equality as well as making a mark as
an award-winning journalist and broadcaster.
Joanna has spent the last 14 years, increasing the employment of diverse talent through inclusive hiring practices and creating inclusive working cultures.
Launching her first charity Elevation Networks Charitable Trust at 18 alongside six colleagues in 2006, following this 2008 Joanna went on to start her own Social Enterprise Shine Media in 2008, saw she placed over 3000 people from diverse backgrounds into work within the creative industries. Joanna’s latest enterprise is founding Blue Moon, a flagship inclusive Executive Search Business and Diversity and Inclusion Consultancy Practice. Before BM, Joanna founded Hyden, part of FTSE 250 Global Recruiter SThree, an executive search and consultancy business.
She has been instrumental in establishing the Creative Diversity All-Party Parliamentary Group with Ed Vaizey MP, of which she is a joint secretary. The University of Reading in 2019 awarded Joanna a Distinguished Graduate Award, and she then received an Honorary Doctorate in Business from the University of West England in the same year.
Joanna’s responsibilities do not end there; she is a Non- Exec Director for Investors in People, a Trustee for The Lord Mayor’s Appeal, and the first and only black person to be made a Trustee and Director of The Media Society. Joanna is also a Trustee and Director of Haberdasher Askes Trust Federation Board and School Governor of Hatcham College and Mulberry Academy Shoreditch. Joanna was also awarded her Freedom of the City in 2018 and became the first black and youngest woman to become a Liverywoman for the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers.
Joanna was also awarded an MBE in the 2020 New Year’s Honours list for her services to diversity and inclusion in the creative and media industries.